Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

After a long day of parties, parades and pumpkins, I am finally taking time to wish you all a Happy Halloween! I know this is one of those "controversial" holidays, but I'm happy to say that we've reclaimed it as a fun, friendly, giving holiday - so pooh to those who ever desired it to be evil!!

This year I had a Queen Amidala and Sleeping Beauty. They were gorgeous, had a blast and Em probably had more fun passing out candy than she did trick-or-treating. That is so typical for her. After she helped me with a second batch of costume laden guests, we closed the door and she turned to me and screamed with glee!! I had to laugh. After our last batch, she ran over to T, hugged him and said, "I'm SO IN LOVE!" There's a little spark of joy each and every time she gives something away - the gift of giving that one has!

I hope you all enjoyed your Halloween as we did. Until next year - "TRICK OR TREAT!"

Monday, October 30, 2006

8,000th visitor!!

I had my 8,000th visitor tonight, the night of mischief!! I had to check and make sure it wasn't my lovely husband - AGAIN!! It wasn't. And the winner is..... my lovely friend from San Marcos!! Woot, woot!! Let's hear it for the Lone Star state!


We were trying to get our pumpkins finished tonight, way behind schedule as usual! As I was cutting out the bat mouth Kt asked for, the doorbell rang. How typical!! 7:30 pm, who would be coming to our door? Em ran to see and came back... it was no one! I looked at Kt and we both said, "GHOSTED!!" She ran back out and found a bag of goodies with the ghost sign and a note.

Each year since we've been here our neighborhood has done Ghosting. This year it freaked Em out because her older sister and a friend convinced her there was a ghost in our basement. They got in a HUGE amount of trouble for this, but Em is still pretty creeped by anything ghostlike. Since she didn't quite understand that a real ghost did not leave this bag of treats for her, we quickly returned the ghosting favor.

So, in the middle of carving pumpkins, we stopped, got all the Halloween candy that was "hidden" in the front coat closet out. We put together two ghost bags of our own, copied the ghost and ghosting directions and the girls quickly "ghosted" two of our neighbors. It was fun for them, and a great alternative to mischief night (a wonderfully fun even from my past!).

I still need to finish those pumpkins!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

If We are the Body....

If you ever want a new perspective on ANYTHING, just ask your 5 year old!! Tonight, Em was telling me how much she missed her "old church", meaning our old building. She says it was wider and she got to sing with her class in front of church. Yup, no singing in front of church in our new building!! Then she told me that someday she wants to go to a "real" church. So, I asked her what a real church is, and she replied, "You know, real churches look like castles!!" She is so fairy tale!

Anyway, I told her that Jesus tell us the church is like a body and it's made up of people, not a building. I explained to her that each believer is like a different part of a body and bodies are made up of working parts that contribute to it's purpose, like hands and feet. Those were my only two examples.

Now, I don't know about you all, but when I think of the body functioning together, I am thinking about arms, legs, hands, feet, a heart. Em starts listing things, beginning with a voice, so others can hear. She moves on to eyes, so they can see the world. Then, they have to have a stomach for all they eat and finally, they must have hair so they look good!! Wow, such a different idea than what I was thinking, but she certainly made me think.

There are so many functions of Christ's body here on earth, and each of them are so vitally important. What seems important to me may not be what others see as important, so I'm glad I listened to her and didn't jump in to correct her. She still wants to sing in front of the church, still wants a building like a castle and really digs the wideness of her old building (I'm still trying to figure that one out!). I never thought of Christ's body having hair, but there are times when I feel like we could represent ourselves to the world in a much better light than we do. As a matter of fact, some Christians are downright embarrassing to the church - they must have big hair or something!!

Ending on that note about how we look, a neighbor sent this to me tonight - it's great!! Check it out!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bill O'Reilly on Oprah

I'm watching Bill O'Reilly on Oprah - I never watch Oprah. I used to watch her years ago, when her stories were much more light hearted. Nowadays, I haven't liked her show much. It's not something I want my children watching so she's out! But today, I just couldn't resist.

T came down and was watching a bit with me. I've never read any of O'Reilly's books. I stopped watching his show because he's a little rude to his guests. I agree with a lot of what he says, not all of it, but a lot of it. We were impressed with how well-spoken and well read he is. It's no wonder he's so popular and can easily insight left wingers. Talk about a formidable opponent!!

After some reflection: I guess a day of thought is always good! Not to mention an evening of reading other blogs about this show - he he. Someone suggested plants in the audience - I hadn't thought about that, but I could see that possibility. Another thought - I guess if Oprah wants to increase her number of male audience members exponentially, she ought to have Bill on more often!

After all the bickering about SP's and T-fighters (?) was said and done, all the debate about Iraq, the ACLU and gay marriage were done, the bottom line seemed to be this: In America today, there is a lack of understanding of our world. We are filled with misinformation from media and have formed disconnected views on various issues that are inconsistent with what we really and truly believe in our hearts. For as long as we form judgements based on what we are fed instead of the facts, we are putting our country on the verge of mental breakdown! OK - that's the dramatic version...

I've never read any of Mr. O'Reilly's books, but this one, The Culture War, sounds like his most interesting one to date. I might actually have a go at this one. Whether someone is a traditionalist or secular progressive, I think this book might be worth the read, because the point is that unless we learn to get along, nothing will be accomplished in this country. We can sit around an argue about rights and freedoms until we are blue in the face, but what will that do if we can't find a solution? I believe that it is good to debate these issues, but both sides need to listen. I'm pretty sure Bill O'Reilly isn't ready to listen to his opposing side, unless they are well-read, informed of the facts and not media driven. And he's got a point there!

If Oprah airs another segment on Bill O'Reilly, I'd watch it again. It was intriguing and was filled with food for thought. Most of the audience contributers were well-spoken and made for some great debate. I hope she actually invites them back as well!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Moment

I heard a song today in the car that brought back some memories, made me think, I had "a moment"! Last August, I went up to Hartford with my mom and sister-in-law for the Women of Faith conference and we really had a blast! We started our weekend at the Yankee Candle flagship store, had a great lunch then checked into our hotel. The room we ended up with was more like an apartment!! There was a kitchen, living room, dining room, plenty of space in between and two bedrooms with their own bathrooms!! We felt like we'd definitely hit the jackpot!

To top it off, we were one block from the convention center, so we had a short walk over to the conference. Because of this, and the quick dinner we had grabbed, we arrived early. Not knowing what to do, we decided to head down to the floor level where WOF had set up their store. When we got to the end of the escalator, a man in a bright yellow T-shirt came up to me and said, "Do you know who Avalon is??" I said, "Yes, I believe I have one of their albums." He then said, "Would you like to meet them?" My first thought was, "And I didn't bring my camera - not even my camera phone!!"

After a bit of manuevering to get my mom and sister-in-law in as well, we ended up waiting in this little room with some "winners" who had called in to an online radio station (?) for a chance to meet Avalon. I had not called in, but they had extra CD's (free!), and I was early so I "won"! After waiting quite some time, the two men from Avalon showed up, looking a little haggered. One of the women was on maternity leave, the other was almost 8 month pregnant. What she was doing flying up from Nashville to sing is beyond me - I mean, that's dedication!! To make matters worse, they described what their day had been like. At the airport at 4:30 am, only to find out their flight had been cancelled. They had to rebook everything, finally arrived in Hartford at 4:30... then soundchecks, showers, changing.... need I say more??

During the concert that night, they made NOT ONE mention of the hoops they had to jump through to get to that show. I was a little surprised, I mean, if it had been me, I'd be playing the "you all are so lucky we love you so much to have gotten our butts here today!" routine! Nope, not one word. And they sounded amazing, especially considering they were one member short, filled in with one of the WoF worship singers (Jennifer Thigpen). One of the songs they sung was Everything to Me. I loved it when I heard it live, but today, in the car, this whole story came rushing back to me. And the song made more sense to me. And so does Avalon.

Everything to me
He's more than a story
more than words on a page of history
He's the air that I breath
The water I thirst for
And the ground beneath my feet
He's everything,
everything to me
There are a lot more words to the song, but these are the ones that keep flashing through my mind today. "He's more than a story - more than words on a page of history". And it's more than the actual tune, which I also love. Is Jesus everything to me?

Would I travel, almost 8 months pregnant, all day. leaving my little girl back home, to tell a group of women that Jesus is everything to me?

There are a lot of things in my life that are crowding my "everything" right now. Most of them I won't get into, but many of them are just temporal, stress-filled busyness and the truth is that I don't want them to be my everything. I don't want to be about all the stuff in my life. I want my everything to be Jesus, for Him to be what I'm all about. That's kind of hard for me, but it's really what I want.

And looking back over my
life at the end
I'll go to meet you saying you've

I am completely aware, although extremely forgetful, of the fact that life on earth is temporary. There is an end, and what will I say when I meet Him? There was a time, shamefully, when I would have said, "Where's my daddy!??" Not angrily, but I missed my dad so much that I really just wanted to be with him. But for real, I think I do want to be able to say to Him, "You have been everything to me!" I want to say that and mean it, that simple. Not, "You have been everything to me, along with my family, my friends, my volunteering, my work...." I want it to be just that simple - He's everything.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OK, this one's funny!!

What kind of American English....

Your Linguistic Profile:
40% General American English
30% Yankee
20% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

My Mood

This one was a little strange... that's all I have to say!

Your Mood Ring is Light Purple


A world where ...

When I saw the headline for this article, I totally laughed out loud!! Montana Principal Suspended for Giving Student a Wedgie
I mean, it's funny! Then again, it isn't. There is such a fine line between having fun and going just a little too far. But I give this principal credit. When the school system decided to reprimand him, embarrassed, he considered resigning. I'm sure that wouldn't have helped him professionally, but it's the principle (no pun intended - LOL). Instead, he decided that "I want to live in a world where we don't have to hide when we screw up."

In many ways, I'm a little like this principal. I hate it when I'm wrong and the last thing I want to do is admit it, especially in front of children and parents who look up to me. Even worse is when I feel like the punishment doesn't fit the "crime". I think this principal has taken a bad situation and turned it into a great learning tool for the students and parents, a lesson on life. I like that he has chosen not to claim that he did nothing wrong or even that he is being mistreated or harshly judged. Instead, he's admitting that his embarrassment over a bad circumstance is no reason to hide.

In many ways, this story brings us all back to the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve finally realized that they did something wrong. Their first reaction was to hide, but as they learned and we need to understand daily, we can never hide from God. And His grace is more than sufficient for our screw ups!! In this case, the humility of one will likely prove to be the strongest action in the whole laughable incident.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Am I Logical?

Well, I can't say as I'm very surprised. I love logic, practicality, preciseness.... just not in housekeeping!

You Are Incredibly Logical

Move over Spock - you're the new master of logic
You think rationally, clearly, and quickly.
A seasoned problem solver, your mind is like a computer!

My Latin American Country

Since T keeps talking about international travel, I figured I ought to find out where I belong. Here's the answer (I'm sure he won't like the reason!):

You Should Visit Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect place for you to get in touch with your inner beach bum.
Relax on the beach, go for a bit of surfing, or try to communicate with the monkeys in the jungle!

Tag Ban?

I cannot believe a school would ban tag, let alone dodgeball! I'm not even sure what to say about it. It's not like kids HAVE to play tag outside or dodgeball. They've eliminated tag because it's too dangerous... like swinging on monkey bars, jumping rope or playing hopscotch involve no danger whatsover? What will it be next?

Here's the real clincher: dodgeball was eliminated because it was "exclusionary". I guess kids these days should never have to feel like they are "out," instead they can only have games where everyone wins and no one loses. Because really, that's how real life is, correct?

Personally, as a kid at recess I pretty much tried everything. I played kickball, I played on the monkey bars, we did double dutch jumprope, 4 square, tag and hopscotch. I don't ever remember being traumatized by being excluded from a game. In fact, since my parents never signed me up for any competitive sports the ones I played at recess were my only experience with winning and losing games. It was great for me, and it taught me that some kids are better at some things than I was, but that there were other things, like academics, that I was better at. I learned that you can't always be the winner and sometimes, you're the biggest loser. I also learned that accidents happen, and our parents understood this as well. An accident is an accident, and when something is deliberate, then you eliminate the problem, not the entire game!

The more we eliminate from school, the less we will gain. No more birthdays, no more parties, no more tag or dodgeball.... Before you know it, there will be no more art - it's too creative, no more music - bad for their hearing, no more P.E. - too many lawsuits and losers, no more computer lab - bad for their vision, no more math - some kids feel bad when they can't do it, no more reading - it gives kids too many bad ideas and no more teachers - they use too much red ink. You think I'm being silly? Well, who ever thought tag would be banned?


For anyone who doesn't know, FIOS is the new fiber to the premises thing that Verizon is offering. We've been hearing about it for a while and it's finally in our neighborhood - almost!! Circulating around our county are horror stories about the "installation" of these fiber lines and now, well, we can just add to them!

About 6-8 weeks ago, every got a little note on their door from Verizon informing us that they would be digging in our neighborhood. We'd assumed as much as Miss Utility had already tagged our lawns, clearly marking where electric, gas and phone lines were. The little note said they would be coming very soon and that anyone with an electric fence should clearly mark it, which is what all our neighbors did. Then, we waited.... and waited..... and waited..... No one came.

Finally, 3 1/2 weeks ago, after lawns had been mowed, markers removed and spray paint disappeared, at around 7:30 am the trucks rolled in and diggers started digging. Up first, our neighbors electric dog fence. It's a good thing no one got electrocuted! They worked well into the evening, and it was impossible for anyone in our neighborhood to warn them or communicate with them because every last one of them spoke only Spanish!! And the Verizon foreman who dropped them all off here?? Nowhere to be seen!

The ended that one day of digging by running off with my neighbor's phone line cut. On top of it, the operator she called refused to believe it was cut by her own company because the FIOS guys didn't call it in - duh, how can they? They don't speak any English! So she had to wait an entire week before they sent someone out to fix it. The Verizon repair man said obviously it was cut and he spends most of his time following the FIOS guys around!!

Well, for over a week he hadn't seen hide nor hare of these dayworkers, until yesterday. I had hoped they were done, but no. Even after the new electrical, gas and phone line marking were once again erased did they start digging again around to our house. Monday and Tuesday and checked our phone all day long to make sure they hadn't cut the line. I was prepared to run out and tell them, "Mi telefono esta messed up!" I wasn't really sure what I'd say, but I figured they'd have to understand me - LOL. What really happened, though, was just something I wasn't prepared for at all.

While getting ready to go work teaching 3's at a Mother's Day Out program, Em with a fever staying home with T and Kt just gathering things for school, the doorbell rang. I had just made lunches, thankfully, and was pouring milk into my cereal when I hear a man telling T to get everyone dressed quickly, grab all our important belongings and head up the street. The FIOS guys hit a gas line and this time, luckily for us, they reported it! Because we just had our gas line hooked up to our home two years ago, we had to get out immediately and no one in our court was allowed to start their car!

So, up the street we went, Kt with her school gear was able to hop on the bus. There was a huge firetruck blocking our street with cones and several firemen at the end of our court with gas spewing out of this pipe. While we stood up there waiting for BGE to arrive, another ladder truck showed up. This was a two alarm deal! Hmmm.... I was scrambling to get a hold of school to tell them I wouldn't make it on time, Em was in her pajamas with a fever (luckily it was a balmy 70 degrees today!), T, well, he was just standing around. Everyone else was allowed back in their non-gas hook up houses.

After BGE arrived, they finally gave me a minute to run in the house, grab what I needed and start my car. It was slightly nerve wracking, but I wanted out! As I drove away, I was wondering what Em and T would do all day! Luckily, they were allowed back in about 1 hour after the whole thing started. What a mess.

T told me this morning that the fireman explained that the workers were using the wrong tool, a shovel, to dig. Had they been using the correct tool, an air knife, it would not have punctured the gas line. For that error, the man with the shovel get two days off with no pay. That really infuriated me!! Verizon goes and picks up non-English speaking dayworkers, probably with no work papers, sends them into neighborhoods with shovels, tells them to dig and then the "jefes" leave. They hit a gas pipe because they were doing their job in an unmarked area and THEY get two days off without pay?? Seems to me like the "jefe" should be taking a little siesta!! What a joke!

I'd say in this matter, shame on Verizon. I've heard the horror stories, but now I've lived them, on our tiny court with 8 houses. We've had the electric fence ripped up (and when they returned, they dug it up AGAIN!), a phone line cut and not reported and a gas line busted. Will any of us ever get an apology? Doubtful.... and to make matters worse, they are not even done yet!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Facing the Giants

I was scrolling through the headlines in the Washington Post online and the title "God Was their Co-producer" stood out to me. My first thought was, "Co-producer? What kind of crap is that??" Then I read about this film that a church in Georgia felt led to make that made 2 million dollars in it's opening weekend in very tiny venues. I want to see this movie!! It's supposed to be a true to the Gospels high school football story.

It's times like these when I really dislike where I live. I live in this liberal bubble of Washington, where conservative, God and Christian are as dirty as they come. Just let me see this movie - you don't have to go!! I promise!

Why is Bono telling the church about poverty?

Here are some great notes from a speech Tony Campolo gave at Grove City by a favorite student of ours!=-) Thanks, LB!

And the answer to that question: The church is walking around with it's eyes closed spending money on stained glass windows.

It's totally true, and so is everything else she has shared. I encourage you to check it out, and hopefully more....

Monday, October 09, 2006


It's been a while since I blogged. I was going to do something like "A Week in the Life of a 'Stay-at-home Mom'" last week, but I was way too tired! I was so busy last week that I barely had time to breath. This week seems like it's starting out to be completely opposite.

Here is a short list of what I've been up to: tutoring 3x a week, Bible Study - Beth Moore's The Patriarchs, party room mom, Daisy troop leader - if that ever gets off the ground, 4th/5th grade administrative assistant at church - copy, cut and distribute supplies for 240 students each Sunday, and teaching a 3's class for a Mother's Day Out program. On top of that, I have to remember piano lessons on Monday, Brownies every other Wednesday and gymnastics on Thursday. T and I have Bible study small group every other Monday night. It's a lot, but seriously, other people do WAY more than I do, and I just don't see how they manage it all. What if I had more kids?

I came across this wonderful, short article about how unstructured playtime is so valuable to kids and they need more of it. I totally believe this, and while the weather is still nice, I love sending my kids out to play after school. My own kids don't get home until 4 PM, so an hour or two before dinner I think should really be unstructured. I think recess while in school is extremely important, which is why I'm not embarrassed to complain about our school's very shabby and undersized playground. The inner-city school with no library that I student taught in had a playground three times the size of our school's!! It's just unbelievable to me!

Well, enough! I'm off to Curves, then grocery shopping, then cleaning my house because Bible study is here tonight, then tutoring if my student doesn't cancel on me again. For some reason, he's too tired on Mondays to meet, or was it he was too "soar" - yeah, that was the text message I received. On a Monday, when he had three regular classes and a P.E. class. How do you teach an 18 year old that school isn't supposed to be easy and you really have to put some effort into it, even when you are only taking 1/2 a load of classes??? Reminds self - never let my kids go for the easy way out, it's just not worth it! It leads to very bad habits that are nearly impossible to break.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Last Call!

I won't fill you all in on my Girl Scout woes... they are too many! (Looks like our Daisy troop won't be happening... long story!) However, Kt is still in brownies and tonight is the deadline for buying cookies. If you wanted some but haven't ordered them yet, just let us know!!

Kt is 14 boxes away from her personal goal. The girls will be donating boxes to Healthy Families of Howard County and using proceeds from this year for several field trips, the biggest being the overnight at the Maryland Science Center.

This may be your last chance to order from this family!

Thin Mints
All Abouts
Cafe Cookies
Sugarfree Brownies (New - hmmmm.....)

If you don't order from Kt, I'm sure you have the chance to buy a box at your local grocery store sometime in November OR in the spring.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Right on Again!

I'm not sure this is the right personality for cross cultural missions, but is there a right one??

Your Personality Cluster is Introverted Sensing

You are:

Responsible, ethical, and trustworthy
Loyal, with a sense of roots in your community
Someone who treasures and remembers the past
Adverse to surprises and the unknown

Indignant Daughter..

of the mission's coordinator. Em is standing here, indignant that while she was outside having fun with her friends for over an hour no one bothered to take care of her puppy. She stood on the hearth and proclaimed that Phoebe (our 17 week old puppy) is likely feeling "homeless" with no one taking care of her or caring for her at all. Hmm... where is she coming up with these things? I think a heart for the lost might be developing somewhere in there, we just need to direct it towards people!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Reflections

We are doing stuff today... who isn't?! Sometimes I use my Sunday's to synthesize things I've been processing all week, and today was one of those days. T and I decided on a whim today to spend this Sunday morning at the Warehouse, which is the building our church built for the middle and high schoolers. At first, I thought I'd happened upon a heavy metal concert! It was likely the most metal I've heard at a high school event since the late 80's when I was actually IN high school! It was interesting, but true worship.

A few things came to mind for me while I was there, in relation to other thoughts I've had this week. Where do these kids go from here? They have created an environment of worship that is authentic to them, meaningful to them, real to them and quite frankly, the worship in "big church" doesn't even come close to what these kids are doing right now. So, where do they go? How do they see the "real world" when they head off to college?

Which brings me to another thought. I actually found this article in the Washington Post about a priest at Catholic University (I had a post about something else going on there earlier - I'll find it and link it here) who spends the beginning of each year "blessing" each dorm room, finding lost souls and the rest of the year reaching out to those students. It's a great image and reminder of how difficult college ministry can be. It's a rich mission field, a college campus, but also very intimidating. It takes really special, chosen people to commandeer a college campus for Christ!!

Which brings me to another thought, about the girl who shared with us this past week about her plans to head to Melbourne, Australia to serve with Campus Crusade for Christ (in light of all the "crusader" references, isn't time for them to change the name of that??? - just a random thought!). I'm amazed by this girl, who grew up in a Catholic family, went to four years of school at University of Maryland, getting involved in CCC through our friends who started the CCC in Australia and are now able to send one of their own back to help. I wonder what her parents are thinking! How cool, and how totally scary! Pray for support for her, please!

I'll just conclude with the meat of the high school "service" today. An unfortunate event, the death of a sophomore's mother to breast cancer, changed the Sunday morning for high school today. They surrounded this sophomore group, prayed over them, had impromptu worship that was phenomenal, they cared for each other, reached out to others... There was an outpouring of community in that room, a physical representation of the love of Christ. That doesn't even happen in big church, so it was refreshing yet very humbling to be a part of. Death is never easy, always sad but can be ever hopeful.

It's a big job, reaching out to middle, high school students, college students... but it's not for everyone. Be prepared for high expectations, to have to be authentic and real, to be willing to spill your heart and soul, not holding back anything because these kids know and they will settle for no less than the real you. And that's about all they ask for, but it involves a real relationship with the person you are trying to bring them to, the One, the Only. In the years I have been involved with high schoolers, they have taught me mountains more than I've ever had the chance to teach them. God uses them to bless me, to teach me and to show me Himself. It's SUCH an honor to know them.

So where do they go? Well, a lot of them go back to the Warehouse, or to Fusion, which is really for them. But soon, they'll be married, have children and they won't settle for big church the way it is. Things will have to change... and I think change is good.